Monday, December 31, 2012

One Word Goal 2013 {Embrace}

This past year my one word goal was "Cherish." And to my surprise, I have thought about that word and how to apply it to my life almost daily for the entire year. I found something to cherish during the trying times (and believe me--we have had plenty this year!)

I cherished the time with my baby, even when he was fussy, because he was mine and healthy and won't be a baby for long.
I cherished the smile from one student during one of my most challenging classes.
I cherish the fact that we were all alive.
I slowed down. I reflected. I contemplated. I cherished.

And now a new year has come. And I need a new one word goal.

I have listened to General Conference from this past October several times. I love so many of the talks. But there is something about Pres. Uchtdorf's talk from Saturday morning that touches my heart. He was teaching how to live without regrets. And that is definitely my purpose in making a New Year's Resolution. I want to choose one word to focus on throughout the year so I can look back on 2013 without regrets.

Near the end of his talk, he stated:
"...No matter our circumstances, no matter our challenges or trials, there is something in each day to embrace and cherish. There is something in each day that can bring gratitude and joy if only we will see and appreciate it."


It is perfect because it will help me expand on what I have learned to cherish in 2012.

I am going to embrace those I love.
I am going to embrace my thoughts and ideas and turn them into actions.
I am going to embrace new opportunities.

I am going to embrace the changes that will come, the challenges we will face, the choices we make.
I am going to embrace motherhood: to appreciate the fun parts and to laugh at the hard parts.
I am going to embrace all of the blessings in my life.

I am going to embrace 2013.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Instant Homemade Rolls

Ok so this recipe is not really "instant." But it is as close as I can find for homemade rolls. Seriously start to finish is about 30-40 minutes. Yes. Homemade rolls from scratch in about a 1/2 hour! Yum!

1 + 1/8 c. warm water (1/8 c. = 2 T.)
1/8 c. active dry yeast
1/4 c. sugar 
1/3 c. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. salt
1 egg
4-5 c. all-purpose flour (possibly more?)
1-2 T. butter (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine warm water, yeast and sugar; let rest for 5-10 minutes or until frothy and bubbly.  With a dough hook, mix in oil, salt, egg and 3 cups of flour until combined.  (With a KitchenAide, you can only go up to speed 2 once you add flour or you will burn out the motor.) Gradually add remaining flour until barely not sticky; if you add too much flour, the rolls will take a lot longer to rise but not enough will be too sticky to handle

Divide the dough into 12 equal (ish) portions then roll into balls. (Note: you could use this dough and make any shape of rolls you wanted. But we are going for the speedy method!) Place on lightly greased cookie sheet and let rest for 10 minutes.  (I placed my cookie sheet over the burner that is the heat exhaust for the oven. After about 5 minutes, I rotated the pan. This helped them rise better! If you added too much flour, just let them rise longer and they will still turn out!!) Bake for about 10 minutes or until tops are lightly golden.  Brush with melted butter right after taking out of the oven. (This will make the tops of the rolls softer. Sometimes I do this--sometimes I don't. Casey likes it better with the melted butter brushed on the top.)

Yield: 12 good-sized rolls. {Can also divide dough into 24ths for small dinner rolls.} 

This dough would also make great breadsticks, cinnamon rolls, etc.

Through trial and error, I created a 30 MINUTE HEALTHY ROLLS recipe. It is 100% whole wheat, fat-free, sugar-free and only has 100 calories per roll!! Be sure to check them out! :)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

"The Nativity" FHE Lesson

I wanted to make an FHE lesson to go with our nativity. My plan was to have something that as we went through the lesson we would set up our nativity. I found these adorable nativity cards at Funky Polka Dot Giraffe and used them as a starting place. I also found a FHE Lesson by Jenny Phillips that was kind of similar and I used part of her lesson as well.

Before FHE: Print off pages 4-6 in the pdf document that Jenny Phillips uploaded. (If you want to participate in the activity later, don't look at page 5&6.) Also, you will need to print off all of the nativity cards at the Funky Polka Dot Giraffe. (Click the links above to go print those things.) Cut out the nativity cards and then hide them in your living room/ entire house--depending on how hard you want to make it. If your nativity is already set up, quickly take it down. If your kids ask why tell them it is a surprise for FHE so they will look forward to it.

Opening Song: Picture a Christmas (Children's Song Book #50)

Opening Prayer:

Opening Activity:  Give each family member a paper and pen. Let them all look at the “Can you tell what picture these are a part of?” sheet included in this packet (don’t let them see the answers), and give them 2 minutes to try to figure out as many of them as they can. They can write them down on the sheet if they think they know or want to guess. (If children are too young to write, you can just do it out loud together as a family.) After the two minutes are up, go over the answers, showing them the “big pictures.”

1) How much easier is it to tell what the picture is when you see the whole thing and not just a tiny portion of it? (Talk about how maybe they could tell a little of what the picture was, like a house, but didn’t realize it was part of a snow globe. You may be able to get glimpses of what something is, but can’t understand all of it without seeing the big picture.)
2) Christmas presents, decorations, and Christmas parties are just a “tiny portion” of the big picture of Christmas. If we are only looking at the candy and the decorations and the gifts, we will miss what the “big picture” really is. What really is the big picture of Christmas?

Transition: Today we are going to set up the Nativity. Everyone needs to go find one card that looks like this (show the one not hidden). Even if you see more cards, just take one and come back.

Lesson: Read the card then let that person take out that piece from the Nativity and set it up. Once all of the cards have been read for the first round, send everyone out to find another one. Continue until all 10 cards are found and the nativity is set up.

Activity: Make a Gingerbread Nativity and ask about each thing as you are making it. Basically reteach/ restate the quote you read about each piece while you make it. (The link is for a gingerbread nativity that I have seen floating around through pinterest.)

Closing Prayer:

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Gratitude Challenge {FHE Lesson}

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching and several people posting something they are grateful for each day this month, I thought it would be fun to start the month off with a gratitude lesson for FHE instead of waiting until the Monday before Thanksgiving. Hopefully it will help us learn to live in the Spirit of Thanksgiving Daily for the entire month instead of just one day.

Opening Song: #241 Count Your Blessings

Opening Prayer:


  • D&C 59:21
    • Ingratitude (confessing not His hand) offends God
  • Ask each family member to share a time when the Lord blessed them. 
    • Be prepared to help them remember stories from their individual lives. Do not hurry this part-- let everyone discuss and reminisce.

  • Now ask them to share a blessing they received from the Lord today. 
    • Explain that sometimes it is easier to remember the big blessings of the past, and that is important; but we should also remember the blessings He gives us every day. Be prepared to help them with ideas.
  • Watch the youtube video clip from Pres. Monson's talk about gratitude. (He reads the story of the 10 leppers then explains it a little bit. You could just read the story, but I like hearing the prophet's voice.)
    • Discuss Question Ideas:
      • What story did Pres. Monson read from the scriptures?
      • How many returned to give thanks?
      • How did Jesus respond to the grateful person?
      • Do you think it was easy for the one person to return? Why/ why not?
      • What does sincerely giving thanks do? (Pres. Monson listed two things after he read the story.)
      • Why is it important to give thanks?
      • What are three ways that you can be more like the one who returned and sincerely given thanks?
  • Read D&C 78:19
    • What do you think it means to "receive all things with thankfulness"?
    • How can we do that? (the next youtube video/ Mormon Message helps teach us how to do this.)
  • Watch the Mormon Message about Thanksgiving Daily.
  • Make a goal to live in the Spirit of Thanksgiving Daily as a family. One way to do that is to take the Gratitude Challenge. (See the Activity idea below.)
  • List 100 things that you are grateful for. What? 100 seems too large? It is easy if you take the Gratitude Challenge! Simply print the "i am grateful for..." chart for each member of the family. And then have everyone fill it in. It is not a race, nor secretive. Feel free to help each other list your 100 ideas. For young children: have them tell you and you write it down for them but I think they are still capable of listing all 100 things. After they finish, have them draw a picture on the back while you make your own list.

Closing Song: #219 Because I Have Been Given Much (fyi: I can't link this to play online because it is copyrighted... time to bust out those dusty paper hymnbooks)

Closing Prayer: 

  • Thanksgiving Blessing Mix
    • Talk about each thing in the trail mix while you are making it and what it represents. 
    • Print off some tags and put some in packages to share with your neighbors and friends.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Halloween Safety {FHE Lesson}

So remember the story of the Six Little Ghosts that I posted near the beginning of this month? Well, it is finally time to use them on Monday for a Halloween Safety Lesson!!Yeah Baby Bunny's first Halloween is almost here! :)

Opening Song: Choose the Right (Hymn 239)

Opening Prayer:

Scripture: Alma 57:21

Lesson: Read the story "Six Little Ghosts" If the children are old enough (aka Devin is too little... hahaha!), let them move the ghosts while you read. I'm thinking Baby Bunny will just watch though. And if you haven't had time to make the felt ghosts, just print some cute ghosts or draw your own and then color them in!

Activity: Give everyone a copy of "I Can Be Safe This Halloween!" The purpose of this is to draw a picture in the box and then write below explaining how they will be safe. After present each child with a "Halloween Safety Certificate." (Note: both of these are the pictures below. Save each picture to your computer then open it in Word Document and make it the full size of the paper. Then print off the number of copies you need.)

Closing Song: Do What is Right (Hymn 237)

Closing Prayer:

Treats: Make Ghostly Bananas (cut bananas in half then dip in melted white chocolate and add two chocolate chips for eyes) or Ghostly Nutter Butters (same thing but dip the Nutter Butter cookie in melted white chocolate and add chocolate chip eyes) or have hot chocolate with Ghost Droppings (marshmallows). These are just a few of my ghost ideas.... :)

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Squished Witches

 This has to be one of my favorite Halloween traditions!
Well... it is a toss up with reading the 6 Little Ghosts.
But every year we would make Squished Witches.
And I think as a little kid the making it was for sure the best part! :)
As an adult, let me just say that Squished Witches are *delicious!*
I'm excited to continue this tradition with Devin now!

1/2 c. spider webs (powdered sugar)
2 c. frog eyes (chocolate chips)
1 can ghost blood (14 oz. sweetened condensed milk)
2 c. squished witches (creamy peanut butter)

Put the spider webs into a large cauldron. Stir in the ghost blood and say "Boo!" While croaking, add the frog eyes. Stamp your feet and add the squished witches. Then stand on one foot and stir everything together. You must repeat your name backwards while stirring. Next drop with black cat paws (teaspoonfuls) onto moon (wax) paper. Chant "Happy Halloween" three times. While shivering, chill the witches for a short time in the cold box (refrigerator). Eat the witches and you will be safe from vampires forever. Count Dracula counts 50-60 witches in the end.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Six Little Ghosts {Halloween Safety}

This has to be one of my favorite things about Halloween.
Each year the "Six Little Ghosts" would come out to play.
My mom would read the story and my siblings and I thought it was the greatest.
We LOVED putting the ghosts up on the flannel board.
My mom LOVED that it taught us good Halloween Safety Rules.
And even when we got older, we would still beg to get the ghosts out each year.

My mom made hers when she was at BYU studying Elementary Education.
She also made a *fancy* flannel board.
Well... I don't have a fancy flannel board.
Instead I used one of Devin's adorable blankets and draped it over our couch.
Ta-Dah! Instant (and cheap) flannel board.

Then to make the ghosts...
I found a cute ghost clipart I liked somewhere online.
Printed it off and cut it out.
Then traced 6 white ghosts and 1 of each color on to felt.
(For the chocolate chip ghost, I used tan and then drew on "chips")
I just drew random different face on each ghost with a sharpie.

Craft Skill Level: Super Easy
Time to Make: Around 30 minutes

And now for the story.
Seriously this is the best part!
I wanted something cute and festive.
So I retyped my mom's story and added some color and pictures.
A little side note:
I think I figured out how to upload a document to blogger.
It is saved as a picture.
So click on it and then save it to your computer.
Open it in Word and then make the picture full size.
Print. :)

We would do this for FHE every year before Halloween.
Make sure you check out the FHE Lesson Idea!

Monday, September 17, 2012

We Believe {FHE Idea}

I have thought a lot about the Articles of Faith since posting earlier about the Articles of Faith Puzzles that I made to go in our Reverent Bags. I realized that although I probably used to know them at one point in time, I wasn't very confident on reciting them. Shoot. Forget reciting them, I wasn't even sure I knew what some of them talked about. {guilty look} I was determined to (re)memorize them all again because I want to be able to teach Baby Bunny. I can't teach him that which I don't know myself. And so, this Family Home Evening was created. FYI: I am falling in love with because the ideas generally came from their Articles of Faith page. I even adapted this lesson from there. :) And there are TONS of ideas--if you want to look for a different activity/ lesson/ etc!

Opening Song:  


Scripture:  "...and they that believe in him shall be saved."  2 Nep 2:9

Lesson Intro:  What are the Articles of Faith? Who wrote them? Why were they written? How are they important to us today? (This last question might be something to think about during the lesson and then come back to it at the end.)

Story:  When Joseph Smith was the prophet of our church, a man named Mr. John Wentworth who was the Editor of the Chicago Democrat newspaper asked him to write a letter for him about our church.  This is what the letter that Joseph Smith wrote him was like.  (Read letter, and display picture of Joseph)  At the end of his letter Joseph Smith wrote the Articles of Faith, and that is how the Articles of Faith came to be.

7 March 1842

At the request of Mr. Wentworth, I have written the following sketch of the rise, progress, persecution, and faith of the Latter-day Saints, of which I have the honor under God, of being the founder.  Mr Wentworth says that he wishes to furnish Mr. Bastow, a friend of his, who is writing the history of New Hampshire, with this document.

When I was fourteen I began to ponder religion.  I knew that all the churches couldn't be right, so I went to a grove of trees, and asked God which church was true.  He told me that none of them were, and that in the future I would know the fullness of the gospel.  A few years later an angel came and told me about the gold plates, and that I would be the one to translate them and bring the gospel back to the earth.

On the 6th of April, 1830, the "Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints" was first organized.  We as members of the church were treated very badly by people that didn't believe the same way we did.  We were driven from county to county, and state to state, and many of our people were sick and dying.  We
arrived in Illinois in 1839, where we began to build Nauvoo, "our city beautiful".

Our missionaries are going forth to different nations, and the Standard of Truth has been erected; no unshallowed hand can stop the work from progressing; persecutions may raise, mobs may combine, armies may assemble, calumny may defame, but the truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent, till it has penetrated every continent, visited every climb, swept every country, and sounded in every ear, till the purpose of God shall be accomplished, and the Great Jehovah shall say the work is done.  (the articles of faith follow this)

                Joseph Smith

 Activity:  Play with the Article of Faith Puzzles. Could make it a race to see how fast you can work to get the pieces all together. Or give everyone their own card(s) and have them find all the pieces they need for their card then read each Article of Faith. 

Challenge: Memorize all 13 Articles of Faith. I printed off some punch cards to keep track of the progress. (Note: I used the ones in the link--just edited them and took off the green background to save on color ink.) Then on the back of each of our punch we wrote down a reward. I would suggest that it be a non-food reward for each person individually. Examples: 13 minutes staying up later, 13 minutes of extra screen time/ video games, 13 minute massage, etc. Have everyone pick something that would be a reward to them to help keep them motivated to memorize. And then once everyone in the family has completed their cards then go out for ice cream.

Closing Song:  

Closing Prayer:

Treats: We "Bee"lieve (pick a treat to make... or simply have something with honey...)

(And seeing the cards everyday has helped!
I currently have 12/13 memorized. 
The last one I need to work on is #10.)

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Scriptures: a friend in disguise

My little sister is down to her last days in the MTC. A letter she wrote home a few weeks ago told us how she was preparing for a fireside. She went with an open heart, seeking answers to her questions. Her answer was to memorize scriptures in Spanish.

When, I wrote back to her, I sent her this quote.

"Great power can come from memorizing scriptures. To memorize a scripture is to forge a new friendship. It is like discovering a new individual who can help in time of need, give inspiration and comfort, and be a source of motivation for needed change. (2011 October General Conference, The Power of Scripture, Sat. Morning Session - Richard G. Scott)"

Anyway, I continued to think about what Elder Scott said. I need someone that can give me inspiration and comfort all the time. Being a mom is hard and I often wonder what I'm doing. Sometimes I just want a hug and the only one around is the fussy baby. I decided to take Elder Scott's challenge. I'm working on building life long friendships (in English).

I found this awesome app from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It helps you memorize all of the scripture mastery verses and Articles of Faith. I installed "LDS Scripture Mastery" and started using it. Because lets be honest, I definitely don't have these all memorized even though I'm a seminary graduate. And even the ones I did have memorized once upon a time could for sure use a refresher course. My goal is one verse a day!

So here is to creating comfort, finding inspiration and making life long friends.
(And another motivation to memorize is so I can teach Baby Bunny the scriptures better. Win-Win!)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

These are MY Pearls

Summer 2009.
That was an eventful time in our lives.
Casey returned from his mission.
We started dating.
And quickly became engaged.
(Then married later that fall.)
But it was also my last summer as an EFY counselor.
(The only downside to marriage... No more EFY but I wouldn't trade anyway!)
Every year EFY has a new CD.
And I love each song on all of my many years of EFY CDs.
But for some reason, "More Than the World" from 2009 has stuck with me.
I think about this song when I have nothing else to think about, when I have
         plenty of things to think about.
When I'm happy or crazy busy. It doesn't matter-- I constantly think about
         this song.
So I made a list o my own personal pearls.
It mostly follows the style of the original but I never tried singing it so I doubt
         it fits the rhythm perfectly.
But these truly are MY PEARLS!
These are the things worth living for when the rest of life seems crummy,
         stressed, or forgotten.
(I borrowed the original song's chorus...)

Baby hugs
My boys in ties
Homemade bread
And clothes my size.

Steamy showers
Goodnight kisses
Morning smiles
And sparkling dishes.

Holding hands
Getting snail mail
Sweet love notes
And my kitty tail.

Sleeping in
Then waking up
To fancy breakfasts
And (chocolate) milk in a cup.

People have told me how to be happy
But I find their remedies empty
These are my pearls
God's treasures unfurled
Mean more to this girl
More than the world to me.

Writing a post
On my blog
Cuddling with my loves
While sipping egg nog

Long phone calls
With my mom
Pumpkin pie
And pumpkin cookies are the bomb

Staying home
Then going out in the sunny
Holding my baby
And dating Honey Bunny

Family dinners
Baby chatter
Taking walks
And rain pitter patter.

People have told me how to be happy
But I find their remedies empty
These are my pearls
God's treasures unfurled
Mean more to this girl
More than the world to me.

Friday, August 17, 2012

You know you are a SAHM when...

10. You know what the acronym SAHM even means...

9. You make your husband wonder what the special occasion is when you actually take the time to do more to your hair than a fast pony tail.

8. You wear baby spit up (or other bodily fluids) as a new fashion design and it doesn't phase you.

7. You are already pinning all the fun crafts you will do once your baby gets older.

6. You run to find your phone every time you get a text, even if you know it is just a news alert.

5. You can unload the dishwasher, change the laundry, fold the laundry, eat dinner, etc all while holding the baby with one hand on your hip.

4. You can not seem to leave the house any earlier than 2 pm, no matter how hard you try.

3. You go shopping on a weekday to avoid the crowd only to realize the store is over populated with crying babies.

2. You look forward to going to the Relief Society cooking class while your hubby stays home with the baby.

1 and 1/2. You can not stop grinning when you get home from said class because you enjoyed the one hour baby break so much.

1. You get to run home to after said class, wake up to and stay home with this everyday... awh... life is wonderful as I know it!! :D

Friday, August 3, 2012

He has a JOB!

While Devin and I were strolling through the library a few days ago, we found one book that we had to check out and read to Daddy. "How to get a JOB by Me the Boss." (written by Sally Lloyd-Jones and Sue Heap) I read it to Casey (and Devin). And although it is a children's picture book it makes some wonderful suggestions.

"First, you must write down EVERY SINGLE THING you're good at on ONE PIECE OF PAPER that's called your Resume. And then you have to keep showing it to everyone. 'Look, Everyone!' you say. 'See how ABSOLUTELY marvelous I am?'"

"Now you have a 'Job Interview.' which is when The Boss asks you TONS of questions to find stuff out. Like, are you a criminal? Can you read and write? Do you know how to use scissors? Can you dress yourself?"

"At the end of the Interview you say, 'Please may I have the job?' And The Boss says, 'OK, here it is.' And that's when you shake hands and shout, 'Hooray for ME! I got the job! I'm so COMPLETELY GREAT!'"

After reading it to Casey, I asked him to evaluate how he was doing. His resume IS only ONE page. (I'm impressed!) He is not a criminal and knows how to use scissors. But he confessed that he had never begged for the job at the end. Bingo. We found the problem-- ask for the job at the end! :)

He has been applying for jobs since long before Devin was born. He can't even remember how many applications he has filled out nor the number of interviews. But he has had probably 5 or 6 interviews recently. And so we kept praying.

And today Casey jumped with joy as he was able to shout, "I got the JOB!" Yippee! And it is at the place where he liked the best. Our constant prayer has been answered! Our needs will be taken care of, he can continue with school, will never have to work a weekend, has paid holidays and vacation days, and we will have BENEFITS!!!! Yeah!!! And now our constant prayer is one of gratitude!

Casey really is COMPLETELY GREAT!!!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

The Name Devin

Deciding on a name is much more difficult than I could have imagined. All of my students (especially the 8th graders) had lists of their top baby names. And believe me, I heard their suggestions almost daily. It is easy to make long lists when it is just one person-- the trick was creating a list with two people... together.

I had several requirements for what our baby's name could NOT be. No abbreviations. No weird spellings. No silent b's or q's hidden in the name. (That goes with the spelling. Some of my students would get so irritated when I couldn't pronounce their name correctly on day one. Um, hello... have you seen how your name is spelled?! You should be mad at your parents, not the teacher!) No name that starts with a C or K. No really long names. No name that is ridiculously creative. Then I just had a list of absolutely not names because they were nightmare students and ruined the name. All of these NOs definitely narrowed our selection.

I downloaded a name app and scrolled through name after name. We came up with a short list that we both liked and met all of my requirements. Casey did not want to decide until we held Baby Bunny. I agreed with that but then decided that we had to have a name before we left the hospital.

Casey kept coming back to Devin. He really liked it. I had my own favorite on our list so we kept thinking about it. Once Baby Bunny was born, everyone was anxious to know his name. We didn't know. On the whiteboard in my recovery room, my CNA made a list of goals for Baby Bunny's first day of life. Our top priority goal was deciding on a name. We knew he would need to go by something other than Baby Bunny for the rest of his life. :)

By day two of Baby Bunny's life, we decided. Devin. It means divine. That was the major push over for me because my favorite name didn't mean anything. And we truly feel that our baby is a divine gift.
July 28, 2012 -- 7 weeks old
Devin is hugging Mommy!
His hands were not just flopped around my body. He was really hugging me!

Side note: I read somewhere that you have to teach a baby to hug because it doesn't come naturally to them. I have constantly been teaching him by example of hugging him and hugging Casey. Devin is a smart boy and  is learning so quickly! Getting a baby hug, is one of my favorite things right now! :)

Sunday, July 22, 2012

The Mother's Lounge

Ever since I was a teenager, I was blessed with the wonderful opportunity to help clean the church at mutual. Let's be honest though, cleaning the building nights was not exactly my favorite mutual activity but I would still go.

There was one room though that I always loved cleaning. And that was the mothers's nursing lounge. I had dreams of someday being able to sit in such a place and hold my dear little baby. I would look at the rocking chair with fondness and look to the future when I would someday be able to sit in that chair for the purpose it was intended.

Fast Forward to last summer when we moved into our new apartment which also meant attending a new ward. I noticed the mother's nursing lounge the first Sunday we went to the new building. After you enter the women's restroom, there is a door immediately inside with the beautiful letters "Mother's Lounge" written on the door. And so my dream to be able to step foot inside this room continued every time I had to use the restroom at church.

I was so curious as to what the room would look like. I had concluded that this must be a beautiful, large room. Obviously who ever designed the building must have designed this room to be a grand suite because (1) it was IN the restroom and (2) it had its own door. I have been in some buildings where the lounge was attached to the restroom but there was no door and other buildings where the lounge was no where near the restroom. Once we found out I was pregnant, reality set in that I would soon be able to set foot into this room. And so my imagination went wild as I pictured what this glorious room looked like.

We were all on time for church today. And Devin was even content enough that I was able to listen to the discussion on missionary work in Relief Society. But I realized that he had about had it and I could either go feed him during Sunday School or I could attempt to keep him quiet knowing that he wouldn't survive very long and possibly have to miss taking the Sacrament because I was feeding my baby. As luxurious as this room must be, there is nothing that it worth missing taking the Sacrament each week.

With diaper bag around my shoulder and Devin and blanket in my arms, I headed towards the Mother's Lounge. Excitement spread through my body as I walked down the hallway because I would finally have a reason to open the door.

The moment arrived. I opened the door. Gasp. Pause. Smile.

So much for a luxurious suite. The two rocking chairs take up practically the entire room. But obviously this room is busy because there are two plastic chairs stuffed awkwardly in there as well. And there is a changing table (which practically opens onto the lap of one of the rocking chairs) and a sink. Well, it wasn't big but it still had a purpose to serve.

And I enjoyed being able to sit and rock my baby while he ate. It was a wonderful moment and one that won't last for very many months and so I chose to love every second of my over crowded, squeaky chair Mother's Lounge experience.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Home Sweet Home

Devin (and his teddy bear) were discharged today! We feel so blessed to have truly witnessed a miracle in the last two days!! I know that countless people have been praying for us and I just want to say THANK YOU!!!

I have to give him awful smelling antibiotics for the next week and a half. Thankfully Devin is an easy going baby and doesn't taste much at his age so we should be able to get him to take it! :)

It truly is amazing to learn just how deep and unending my love is. This experience has pulled us together as a couple and also a family. We both love our little Devin so much and love each other even more that we were willing to sacrifice in ways that I never thought possible.

And for the record, I did learn some amazing baby skills while at the hospital! I can now change a diaper in almost no time flat and I have mad nose suctioning skills. :)

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Sleeping with Angels

I have heard it said before that angels walk the halls at Primary Children's Hospital. I know that now for myself!

Yesterday morning, I took Devin to the pediatrician's office because his belly button was oozing out pus and was really red. I really thought that the doctor would tell me to put a bandaid on and he would be fine. But I just wanted it checked. Well, it was the complete opposite reaction from what I expected. Oozing belly buttons when you are 16 days old can apparently be life threatening.

We were sent straight to Primary Children's and the doctor prepped me for the worst before we left the office-- he would be having emergency surgery as soon as we got there and would have to have a spinal tap to check for other complications. We were allowed to drive ourselves there because he was stable at the moment. Holy cow so grateful I took him to the doctor and so extremely grateful to live in a day with medical technology!! Although I did not like the sound of surgery, he would live through it just fine and life would be great again.

We spent most of the day siting in the ER room while we waited for various tests to be ran and he even had an ultrasound. He was not rushed straight into surgery because his belly button looked better when we walked through the ER doors. Casey gave him a blessing and everyone started praying! Prayers are heard!! Heavenly Father is so loving!

When the surgeon team looked at his belly button yesterday, it was no longer red (Apparently the red color was a huge sign of a serious problem.) but it was still leaking a little bit. Surgery was not going to be needed and they would come check on Devin this morning to see how it looked.

So long story short, they started an antibiotic through an IV in his foot. It is a general antibiotic that treats a lot of things until all of the lab cultures come back and they know exactly what is wrong. We spent the night at Primary Children's and angels slept with us all-- I am sure! We will be here for another day or two at least.

When the surgeon team looked at his belly button an hour or so ago this morning, it looked totally normal. It wasn't oozing stuff any more and it seemed to have closed completely. The team agreed that it was truly a miracle and that prayers are heard in this hospital.

We just need everyone's prayers at the moment. If we think of anything else that we need or something that friends and family can do to help us, we will for sure let you know! Devin is eating so well and has plenty of dirty diapers that his IV was turned completely off at the moment. However, it will still be used to administer the antibiotics every few hours. He is a happy baby and we feel so blessed!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Choose 2 Build

It seems that no matter what situation I'm faced with, I always have two choices. I can choose to be a builder or a wrecker. I have been chewing on this idea for awhile and as much a I would love to say, "I'm always a builder!" I'm not. Unfortunately, I do my share of wrecking from time to time.

Let me explain this idea of building and wrecking through some examples I have recently faced.

Winco has some killer sales going on right now! We are talking prices too good to pass up type of a deal! :) Well Casey would prefer that I go shopping without him but I love being together. I convince him to be my companion and so we brave the beyond busy store together. Once we return home, I was quickly distracted by something else and left the ground beef on the counter.  Casey discovered it and put some away in the fridge and put some in the freezer. Earlier, I had told him that I wanted to cook all of the ground beef and then freeze it in Ziploc bags. (Tip for easier/ faster dinners! If the meat is precooked, it makes things so much easier when faced with having to throw something together a few minutes before your spouse arrives home from work. I can already see that precooking the meat will be a huge lifesaver when my arms are already full with Baby Bunny and I'm still trying to pull something together for dinner!) I later go to cook all the ground beef and realize that half of it is missing, only to find it stuffed in the freezer.

I have two choices.  I can choose to be a wrecker and get upset and chew Casey out. I mean, I am totally justified because he knew I was planning on cooking it all right away and he was obviously trying to make my life more difficult. By taking my frustration out on him, I become his wrecker. The chances of me convincing him to go shopping with me again or help put groceries away in the future are slim. And who can blame him for not wanting to help or be with me at the store if I'm just going to tear him down. I wouldn't want to be with me either if I was a wrecker.

My second choice is to take a deep breath (and maybe count to 10) and realize that Casey was not purposefully trying to make my life more difficult. I know this because he loves me and he wants what is best for me. He cares about me and our family. Even though the prices at Winco are cheap, it still has a price to be paid. We are on a tight budget! I'm sure his intention was to not let the meat we just bought go bad on the counter and the fridge was already packed so the freezer was the only option for some of the meat. And so I can choose to be a builder. I can thank him for taking the time to go to the store with me and tell him how grateful I am that he remembered to put away the groceries. Because of his love language, one of the best ways for me to be his builder is to give him a big hug and kiss as I explain how much it means to me that he took the time to be so helpful.

I can choose to build him up instead of wreck him down.

Another example. Casey recently changed the toilet paper. He put it on the wrong way. (Yes, I totally believe that the toilet paper has a right and wrong way!!) I can wreck him by complaining about him doing it wrong or I can build by appreciating that he took the time to change it. The more I become a builder, the more Casey is willing to help me with the little things in the future.

Think about the laundry and how to load a dishwasher and who does what chores and how to decorate/ arrange a nursery and etc. It seems almost every situation in marriage is either an opportunity to be a builder or the chance to be a wrecker. Fortunately, if I happen to choose to be a wrecker, I can always apologize and then refocus on how to build.

I'm working each day to be a builder. Are you?

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Change of Hats

Goodbye dress pants and fancy shoes.  Hello capris and flip-flops.
Goodbye alarm clocks.  Hello crying. (soon)
Goodbye contract time.  Hello to hoping to leave the house sometime during the am hours.
Goodbye 8 hour work day.  Hello 24/7.
Goodbye bell schedule.  Hello no schedule. (though crossing my fingers that we can get Baby Bunny on a schedule sooner than later!!)
Goodbye grading papers.  Hello writing more blogs. (at least for now--who knows what will happen in a few weeks!)
Goodbye bulletin board making.  Hello craft projects.
Goodbye dirty (I tried so hard to make the kids keep it clean and throw away their trash.  Sometimes, this worked better than others....) classroom.  Hello clean home.
Goodbye cooking labs.  Hello dinner.
Goodbye 200+ kids.  Hello 1 baby.

Goodbye teacher.  Hello mommy.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

I'm "TIE-ing" to be like Daddy

I just finished making a tie for Baby Bunny. It took about an hour but I imagine the next ones will be even faster now that I know what I'm doing.

It velcros in the back. (It has two pieces--the actual tie part and the neck band part....) Cheating, I know but it works pretty well and makes it so I won't have to re-tie it every Sunday. And I might have to adjust the length when my handsome baby is actually here. :)

P.S. I bought the white shirt and pants. There is NO way I would make a collared baby shirt--that would be a nightmare.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Hardest Decision...

All growing up and even throughout college, I always knew what my decision would be. Ask any of my students who share my common dream and the decision is easy. They can all tell me exactly what I should do. And I thought I would know instantly too. But no. This really was the hardest decision.

The hardest decision. It does not involve anything along the lines of being temple worthy. Those are all easy choices. It does not matter what I wear or what we decide to order when we go out to eat. Deciding where to live and what to major in even seem easy in comparison.

The hardest decision. Do I continue working next year or do I stay home and be a mom? Is this my first and last year of teaching or is Baby Bunny going to be raised by someone else? I always thought the choice would be a piece of cake because the only thing I have ever dreamed I was being a mom.

When I was little, and others would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I had one answer-- a mommy. The reason I chose my major was because it was the closest thing I could find to teaching me motherly skills. I worked hard and graduated from college with an excellent GPA but always planned on using it to bless my children-- never to actually teach.

So why when I'm faced with the opportunity I have always longed for does the choice all of the sudden become the hardest one with no clear direction?!

I was torn. My students need me. My baby needs me. We need the money. We need things of far greater worth than money. Casey needs to finish school and have a stable income. Baby Bunny needs a mommy and have a stable life. I enjoy my job, I like teaching, I want to become a level 2 teacher, next year would be SO much easier. I think I will enjoy being a mom but really have no idea. Back and forth like a see-saw. My principal pushing for an answer, one way or the other and me being scared to step forward in either direction.

I was stuck. Unsure, hesitant, scared.

Finally we turned the matter over to the Lord. And decided to just walk forward trusting either answer by making a commitment of yes or no. Teacher and Mother together or Mother.

General Conference hit me. Going to the temple hit me. My constant thoughts hit me. I knew where I am meant to be next year. I was still terrified. I had no idea what to expect from my principal. Her initial reaction was far from what I could have ever guessed would happen. We ended up talking about General Conference and the temple and the most important work I will ever do while I gave her an answer to my hardest decision.

And so the hardest decision melted away. I'm at peace.

I get to stay home and raise Baby Bunny. I get to answer his questions when they arise and find joy in the everyday things he does. I get to be a mommy! :)

I will miss my students (on most days). And I will miss talking to friends (co-workers). And I have no idea what it is like to stay home with a constant tag-a-long and to rarely have break. But I'm excited to learn.

And we are still keeping our faith in Heavenly Father and trusting that He knows what He is doing!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Car Seat Cover

Time consuming? Yes!

Difficult? Moderately Yes.

Have mistakes? Absolutely Yes.

But was it worth it? Do I like it? Does Casey like it? YES! (However, I don't think that I would ever make something like this again.)

I like the window and if you notice the picture with the cover open, I love seeing "baby bunny" in it! ;)

(I will have to re-find the pattern/ website I generally followed and post a link...)

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Mission Mommyhood

As I was sitting through my sister's missionary themed Sacrament meeting a couple of Sundays ago, I was kind of feeling a little bit sad about never having the opportunity to serve a mission myself. Instead, I married my best friend about five months after he came home from his mission. And seeing how we are the same age, a mission for me was out.

My thoughts have continued to chew on this. And someday when we are all grown up with silver hairs sprouting up all over our heads we are going to serve a mission together. I'm so excited for that because I will always get to be with my favorite companion!

But as for right now, we have a whole life ahead of us to live together. And I thought my mission would have to wait. But I realized I have been called to a different mission...

I am hereby called to serve as a mother. I am assigned to labor in my home. It is anticipated that I will serve for not only a period of 18 years but for all eternity.

I should plan to report to the hospital on or around June 23, 2012. I should prepare to preach the gospel in the English language.

My purpose is to invite Baby Bunny " come unto Christ by helping [him] receive the restored gospel through faith in Jesus Christ and His Atonement, repentance, baptism, receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost, and enduring to the end...."

"The Lord will reward you for the goodness of your life. Greater blessings and more happiness than you have yet experienced await you as you humbly and prayerfully serve the Lord in this labor of love among His children. We place our confidence in you and pray that the Lord will help you become an effective [mommy]."

I have been called to a mission! The most sacred and honored position and one that I have been preparing for and anticipating my whole life. And I'm ready to serve!

(Quotes and ideas were taken from my sister's mission call. This post is in no way intended to make fun of or degrade her or any missionary's sacred calling.)

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Remembering the Olympics

So I know this is about from forever ago...  But better late than never right?! :)

Remember how I had the opportunity to listen to Derek Parra and actually hold his Gold Medal at an assembly? Well, later that same week, there were a lot of celebrations going on to remember the Salt Lake 2002 Winter Olympics.  Casey and I went down town and enjoyed the sun (though still cold temperatures) and the festivities set up.

We make a great bobsled team! :)  {Truthfully being pregnant, I doubt I would have been a great partner--but basically I just love any time that we are a team!}

We are keepers of the flame!

Casey competed in the weight lifting competition.

And even being 22 weeks pregnant (at the time), I was able to compete in the competition as well.  {Yes the thing is fake. But surprisingly a lot heavier than I would have thought a fake bar to weigh.}

We both rocked the event so much that we tied for first place!!  The lovely (sarcasm...) banner across the bottom cuts off Baby Bunny.  Sad!  But we will just call it a three way tie. :)